Recently I was sorting through old documents from my Human Resources / Training Days. I found some writings from Dee Hock. Mr. Hock was the founder of Visa Credit Cards and its CEO back in the day. He eventually left Visa to focus on the future of business. He is a visionary guy and I am excited to re-read his work.
Here is a great quote about leadership from Dee Hock.
Here is the very heart and soul of the matter.
If you look to lead, invest at least 40% of your time managing yourself – your ethics, character, principles, purpose, motivation, and conduct.
Invest at least 30% managing those with authority over you, and 15% managing your peers.
Use the remainder to induce those you “work for” to understand and practice the theory. I use the terms “work for” advisedly, for if you don’t understand that you should be working for your mislabeled “subordinates,” you haven’t understood anything.
Lead yourself, lead your superiors, lead your peers, and free your people to do the same.
All else is trivia.
If you manage people, how are they at managing upward? I would say my direct reports do indeed spend time leading me and that is how I want it. I work to nurture this with them. I then expect them to do the same for their staff.
However the percentages break down, it is important to manage up and sideways. Certainly your relationship with your boss is important and deserves the time you spend on the relationship. Yet do not forget the relationships with your peers. Business processes do not have stop signs (or should not). You need to work effectively with peers to assure the work flows.
Dee Hock’s quote begins with managing yourself and stresses it over the other relationships. Leadership development need not be complex. Good leaders are good people first. As started above, “It is about your ethics, character, principles, purpose, motivation and conduct”. If you can speak to these elements and have a good story to tell – one that you are proud of – you are on your way as a leader. If and when your direct staff are doing the same – excellent. If you help your boss to do the same … WeMoveTogether.